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Uses for proofer

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a cabinet sized proofer which I bought used.  Used it for a while to proof a few items.

Now I want to develop menu items from scratch that I might sell in my coffeeshop.  I don't have a high-end clientele at all.

So I need some recommendations for using this proofer.  I know that I want to make scones. 

btw, I just learning the bakery aspect of this business.  My present sales utilize largely frozen stuff.

thanks.
John
post #2 of 11
Hi John,

I can't help you with the proofer as I have never had need to use one for baking purposes but I can help you with ideas for your coffeeshop menu with regards to from scratch items.  

If your proofer has a holding feature you might want to consider adding pizza to your menu.. you could make your crust from scratch and have a different pizza of the day each day of the week.

Homemade breads come to mind... at the cafe I used an ABM to make the dough (time saver) and then I would make foccaccia or a loaf bread out of the dough, finish it in the oven and we would serve it with our soup or salad of the day as well as our chili. 

We also made our own muffin batter in bulk and then kept it in the fridge for no longer than three days and use it as we needed it.  We would make three different types of muffins a day so we made sure we had enough batter made ahead to account for that.  There is frozen muffin batter out there I know,  but they don't compare to the taste of a made from scratch muffin.  You could also do savoury muffins using the same technique.  If you are going to add any kind of meat to the mix you need to cook it before you add it to the batter. 

Hello Dolly bars, Buttertart squares and lemon bars were good sellers for us as well.  All are very easy to make from scratch and our customers loved them. 

Every so often I'd make raspberry cocounut bars, and rocky road bars as well as molasses cookies and pretty much anything else we thought people would enjoy with their cup of coffee or tea.

I added chocolate chip cream cheese brownies to the dessert case when I started there and they also sold well.  They're a nice cross between a cheesecake and a brownie. 

Bread pudding was a very good seller.  We made ours with fruit and added no sugar so there was a menu option for diabetics and people on sugar reduced diets.  What we did though was pour some sugar free syrup (like the Torani syrups for flavouring coffee) over a slice of it before serving so the sweet taste was there, just not with the added sugar.  You could also make sugar free sauces using seasonal fruits, and let the flavours of the fruits speak for themselves.

Our customers were a mix.. we had some high end customers (not sure if any of you have heard of of Tom Wilson or Cathy Jones  both are Canadian celebrities.. he is known for his musical and art works, and she is one of the regulars on This Hour has 22 Minutes and they were semi-regular customers of ours) and then we had for the most part average people who wanted a good meal and a nice cup of tea or coffee.  What we provided was good food, friendly service and a comfortable atmosphere where everyone was accepted no matter what their background was.  We even had an olympic gymnast and her mom come in now and then just for coffee.  They were the nicest people... we'd always give them a sqare or something to enjoy with their coffee on us just because we wanted to.. they were that nice.  We treated all of our customers now and then.

What are your hours of operation?

You might want to look at lunch specials etc as well.

If you are interested in any of the baked goods I have mentioned here and would like the recipes let me know and I'll post them for you.

Hope I've been of some help to you

arlene
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
arlene

any of the above suggestions are welcome.  they seem like they'd be perfect for what i think would work.  i'm in the middle of a small construction project to make a place to work dough for breads, etc; soon I'd like to incorporate your methods since they seem quite reasonable.  so any recipes are welcome.  I'm such a newb though- i don't know what an abm is.

i do make those exact brownies from scratch though : )

maybe i can get back to you soon concerning my limitations

john
post #4 of 11
Hi John

ABM is short for automatic bread maker/machine.  I would use the dough only cycle to make the bread dough and then finish it in the oven.  Lazy I know but I was the only cook at the cafe so I had to do what I could to get things done in a short amount of time.  

I would be interested in your limitations regarding cooking space as well as storage and refrigeration space.  The cafe was the smallest kitchen I have ever worked in, (even smaller than the kitchen in my first apartment as a young adult!!) but I did what I could with the space I had and made it work. 

I'll post recipes for you but I'll share them in the recipes area so everyone can enjoy them!

arlene
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post #5 of 11
you don't need to proof scones. If you did breads or puff pastries/cinnamon rolls those all use proofers. An easy and relatively cheap idea is to buy the croissant blanks frozen. defrost them and you can make a variety of flavors, cinnamon and sugar, plain, ham and swiss rolled into them or turkey and cheddar. easy to make easy to eat with one hand.  Danish, apple , rasberry...

also while you don't need a proofer for them if you have the patience Spanokipita make for a good vege option.
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
gunnar,
i used to use those kind of crossaints- i'd like to experiment with your ideas.  Need specifics on how to cover/fill etc.  I don't know if they're any good, but I have 2/3 box of them in the freezer; they are months old however.  i'll experiment today anyway.


arlene,
definitely ready for the muffin recipe; i like the efficiency.

limitations:  better to say what I have-
In main kitchen (10x20') :

8' ft stainless table with a small electric griddle on it; no hood over it- use it for non-meat items (health dept hasn't had a problem with it);

four slice toaster on shelf over stainless table

at one end of room is a counter which has a panini grill and space to assemble sandwiches; i also use that counter to place the infared eye to cook eggs for breakfast sandwiches- not enough biz yet to fire up the griddle.

to the left of that counter on a long wall (working away from panini grill in the corner) is a 3' sandwich station cooler.  stores for panini, making wraps etc.

to the left is a double door commercial fridge (actually it's more for convenience stores)

the rest of that wall is sinks and dish cleaning related.

the last wall has an older Blodgett 1/2 sheet convection oven with 5 racks

The adjoining kitchen space- approximately 10x14' (partially under construction):
has two chest freezers and a broken upright commercial freezer which has become storage til I determine if it's smart to fix it. 

a rolling 5' shelving unit

single cabinet proofer - what was i thinking when i bought this used a couple years ago?

a small table (temporary) which has a light commercial meat/cheese slicer)

7' of dedicated space along a wall to make a work area for baked goods.  Still being determined how exactly to use the space.  working with breads, pastries, etc are the plan.

I have several tools as well- steamer table, old ka/hobart mixer, food processor, etc.

Thanks to any/all who contribute; it makes the journey easier.

john
post #7 of 11
well you will know they are bad cause they will taste bad. Freezer burn and the croissant won't fluff up hardly.
These are the easiest thing in the world - the blank should be relatively triangle shaped to begin with or in a square that needs to be cut .

defrost them to the point they can be rolled. stretch your corners a bit.
for the meat and cheese the idea is not to overstuff the croissant, you'll ruin the cooking eveness. so just one or two thin slices of ham or turkey and one layer of cheese that covers the meat.  roll up, bend your ends towards the middle place on sheet pan with 20 of it's like minded friends and place in proofer till it's looking ready (haven't done these in a while but i seem to recall in summer 15 min in winter 30) and then bake. it's just meant to be a heavier croissant, not the answer to the cro'sandwich.

the cinnamons are even easier. mix appropiate levels of cinnamon ad sugar like it's for cinnamon toast. sprinkle onto blanks, roll, spritz the tops with water, sprinkle again on the outside, proof and bake.

only cook plain and cinnamon on the same sheet pans, the meat and cheese take a few minutes longer and will cause the others to burn.

for doing danish you will need to either make puff pastry or as most bakers do get the premade strips. Making lemon curd and raspberry filling (As well as any fruit in season) is well worthwhile if your any good at it or you can get fillings pre-made too.  these take 20-30 minutes of proof time iirc and cook in about 10-15. let me know if you really need more specifics, best of luck.
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post #8 of 11
Proofer only works for yeast products; baking powder items, likes scones don't need proofing. Breads, rolls, focaccia, sweet yeast rolls all benefit from a proofer but in a warm kitchen it's not even necessary. Ideal proofing temperature is 90 degrees and a warm area in the kitchen comes pretty close to that.
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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George, Culinary Scientist and author of
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post #9 of 11
yeah, but proofers also provide a perfect moist environment and eliminate drafts that cause dried skin on breads and limit a good rise. there is a reason for them in professional kitchens.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
i was wrong about the blanks;  iwas thinking of frozen croissants.  i'll check with my supplier

thanks john
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
anyone know what an ideal humidity level would be?  is it different for different products?

john
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